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David McGowan | July 13, 2017

How to Prevent Tampering on Your Road Safety Device

It’s not a matter of if; it’s matter of when. Tampering of any company-owned equipment is very serious, and the consequences can be catastrophic for you the employer and employee. When it comes to safety devices such as Road Safety, there have been well-documented cases where employees have tried to disable the components of this safety system. 

Customers have reported finding wires cut or unplugged on speakers, the RS4000 box and modem. Clearly, this will disable the Road Safety system from producing audible alerts and uploading data to ZOLL Online. Unless power to the device is interrupted, Road Safety will continue to collect vehicle data and will upload its data once a connection to ZOLL Online is established.

Start by Creating Comprehensive Policies

Create comprehensive policies for your Road Safey programPreventing tampering of any company owned property starts with comprehensive and aggressive policies. These policies should outline what tampering or willful destruction is and the consequences if an employee is found to have violated the policy. The most common action employers take is immediate termination of the employee.  Additionally, employers are reminded to update policies and have on file employee signatures that state they have read and understand all company policies and procedures.

Additionally, some states have laws that can criminally prosecute an employee if they are found guilty of tampering or destroying vehicle safety equipment. It also should be noted the legal risk to the employer if the tampered vehicle is involved in a crash that results in injuries or fatalities. All safety devices and the data collected is discoverable by law.

Run Road Safety Reports to Identify Potential Tampering

Because Road Safety is vehicle specific, date, time and GPS stamped, investigating tampering to individuals can be made easier by running several reports:

Status Report. This report provides information (vehicle, date and time) when the last connection to ZOLL Online was made.

Grading or run report. Look for high unknown driver miles and violations in a specific vehicle. This would indicate connections to some of the Road Safety components have been compromised. For example:  

  • Excessive unknown driver miles – either the speaker is unplugged and isn’t prompting drivers to login, or there are tags floating around which aren’t programmed into ZOLL Online
  • Excessive over speed miles – either the speaker is unplugged and isn’t providing real-time proactive driver feedback or there are specific drivers that could use additional training
  • Excessive seatbelt violations – either the speaker is unplugged and isn’t providing real-time proactive driver feedback or there are specific drivers that could use additional training
  • Zero miles driven with over force violations – the device isn’t capturing speed, possibly from the onboard diagnostics (OBD) cable being disconnected by a driver or by a mechanic

Road Safety Grading ReportIn addition to the above, accountability on the part of the crew driving the vehicle should be addressed. Prior to operating the ambulance at the beginning of a shift, a thorough vehicle checklist should be completed and signed by the crew members.  This should include that Road Safety is producing audible alerts for log on/off, spotter alert and seat belt compliance. The truck check should also note that while the ambulance is moving, Road Safety is producing audible clicks and tones.

Any discrepancies found should be immediately forwarded to a supervisor and the vehicle placed out of service until repairs have been made.

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More About the Author:

David McGowan

David McGowan, ASHM, has more than 35 years of experience in EMS serving as a clinician and administrator for fire and hospital-based services. He is an accomplished administrator in Operations, Communications, Marketing, Business Development and Systems Quality. McGowan is recognized nationally for his expertise in ambulance safety programs. He has had many speaking engagements at national EMS conferences and has authored numerous publications and papers. McGowan provides expert consultation for ambulance operators, manufacturers, educational institutions, government agencies and legal firms.